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    Dutch Prince Pulled From Avalanche, Condition Critical

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    Dutch Prince Johan Friso is in critical condition in hospital after he was buried in an avalanche while skiing in the Austrian Alps. The prince was wearing a beeper that helped rescue crews find him quickly.

    Dutch Prince Johan Friso is in a critical condition in hospital after he was buried in an avalanche while skiing off-course in the Austrian Alps on Friday.

    Queen Beatrix's middle son was pulled unconscious from the snow 20 minutes after the accident and resuscitated, the mayor of the upscale western resort of Lech said.

    [Ludwig Muxel, Mayor of Lech]:
    "Today at quarter past twelve, midday, a mass of snow about 30 metres wide and 40-50 meters long came down. That was in the free skiing area, not on a closed piste and not on a secured piste. This avalanche took a skier with it and buried him. He was about 40 centimetres under the snow. Thank God it was possible to locate and dig out the skier very quickly, within 20 minutes. And it was possible to get him into emergency medical care immediately."

    The 43-year-old prince was flown to the university clinic in the western city of Innsbruck. Members of the Dutch royal family remained in Lech.

    His condition was "stable but life threatening", and the queen and the prince's wife were at his side, the Dutch government said in a statement.

    A tourism official in Lech said that the prince was wearing a beeper that helped rescue crews find him quickly and that the companion was able to free himself and call for help.